Be prepared – it’s Ann-rant time. I have been talking with several sewing friends, and all have voiced similar frustration to mine. That is – where the hell are the good sewing books for us? We’re not beginners. We’re not all in our early 20s. We are fashionable. We like looking good. We enjoy challenging sewing projects. But there isn’t much on the market for us.
For example, I spent an afternoon last weekend at my local Barnes & Noble. Of course, I had to check out the sewing books section. What I found there was great for young, beginner level stitchers. For folks like me? Not so much. I don’t sew cute cotton dresses. I’m not interested in patterns and styles that border on twee. I’m not interested in looks that are so cerebral that they border on costume. I tire of the wall of sherbet colored books with titles done in cute fonts that look like hand stitches. Don’t get me wrong. There is clearly a market for these books. I’m just not part of it.
I like to think of myself as an aspirational stitcher. I know how to do all the basics. I can teach the basics, and I can teach a lot of the not-so-basics. What I want is to learn cool new techniques. I want to learn how to do some of the things that I’ve seen on the runways at Fashion Week – things that a real woman could wear. I want to work with difficult fabrics. I want to challenge myself. Pastel dresses? Nope, not for this
I already own all the books written by Susan Khalje, Kenneth King, Claire Shaeffer and David Page Coffin. The problem is that they’ve all been around for a while. There isn’t anything new for intermediate to advanced stitchers in the retail market. I’ve taken to collecting college texts. They have more interesting techniques. Zoya Nudelman’s Couture and Julie Cole’s and Sharon Czachor’s Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers are good. Of course, they’re college textbooks, so they are not cheap.
I don’t have a solution, and I haven’t heard of any books coming on the market, but boy, I’d love it if some fabulous couture teacher would put together a book for someone like me. Maybe I’ll write my letter to Santa now, to give him some lead time.